Thursday, August 20, 2015
Donald Trump Vs the 14th Amendment
Dead Youtube link--it's here.
In the linked video, FOX pundit Bill O'Reilly raises some pretty strong points about why Donald Trump's anti-immigration scheme doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. (Climb the hell down folks, I don't say O'Reilly did a good job everyday, but this was that day.) There's a certain logistical issue practical people will end up making with the idea that Trump means to round up and deport 11 million people (not all of whom are even Mexican). How do you locate them? Are you rousting families from settled homes and sending them out into homelessness? Are you having undocumented families living in attics in the US afraid of being picked up and maybe placed in La Migra's detention areas--which will be a real problem, because the government will need to sort where they are sending folks back to. And for US-born people, this means trying to find a way to deport them to a place they have never known.
How is that detention area going to look? When it's swelled by an order of magnitude or so? O'Reilly suggested these people would be rounded up in buses, but maybe, because of the scale, trains might be more appropriate? Will those additional temporary detention housing spaces be in modular barracks or open air--tents, like Sheriff Arpaio keeps some of his prisoners? And how will you keep the US-born children of immigrants from being citizens when the earliest challenge to the 14th Amendment on just this note (as Yastreblansky points out) supported the idea that the 14th Amendment absolutely means the children of immigrants are citizens. The dilution of the 14th Amendment does away with the idea of equal treatment under the law of individuals based on any classification. Following that kind of ecstasy of douchebaggery , why not make plausible a trail of tears and forced labor for undocumented people and their US-born children? (I will not the hell use "illegal alien" or "anchor baby" because these, friends, are classifications of entire human beings based on a legal status that does not in any way diminish their value or dignity as human beings. Even if Jeb Bush thinks these terms are A-ok.)
I don't look to knobs like Tom Tancredo or Jeff Sessions (R--White Citizens Councils) to form my opinions on who belongs here. But I can see how the 14th Amendment suddenly got so unpopular with several GOP presidential candidates--equality under the law. The justification for things like anti-discrimination laws (which will be bypassed for compelling religious reasons under FADA if the RNC platform has its way) and the equal treatment under the law that has lead to marriage equality and should lead to anti-discrimination in employment.
Trump couches this anti-14th amendment language in a specific topic (immigration)and plays up the criminal aspect and the use of a "loophole" to create a legal basis for residency if not citizenship on the basis of family ties--even though these things are being wildly overstated. But even if he's singled out a particular, unprivileged and easy-to-marginalize group, he's still out of his depth on the prevailing point--
The Fourteenth Amendment, for whatever purpose it was intended, still says what it does, and to the extent that we derive our ideas of legality on the quality of whether a thing is "Constitutional" or not, a Constitutional Amendment is, in US legal terms, as legal as a very legal thing. The precedent derived from judicial review of this Amendment sides with birthright citizenship. And he could not get Congress to get a new Amendment to override that--as O'Reilly was indicating. Trump, seemingly oblivious of the high school civics fail he was committing, indicated he was good with declaring it by fiat. That's not really how the Constitution works. Or how our separation of powers works, or many other things you would learn in High School.
And yet none of this affects Trump's popularity...